The must-see games of 2016-2017

Jean Lapointe

Of the 612 games spanning from September 22 to March 18, here are the 10 games that jumped out at us that will want to circle on their calendars.

  1. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada vs. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Thurs. Sept. 22; 7pm ET at Arena Iamgold

Why not start with the President Cup champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies who will begin the defence of their crown by facing the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Huskies will be looking to get their campaign off on the right foot, while Joel Bouchard and the Armada will be gunning for revenge after bowing out to Rouyn-Noranda in the QMJHL quarterfinals. The Armada did only muster four goals in six games combined with the playoffs in Rouyn.

  1. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada vs. Val-d’Or Foreurs, Fri., Sept. 23; 7:30 pm ET at Centre Air Creebec

Fans won’t have to wait long to see the next big game as the Foreurs will host the Armada the following night. The Armada did after all spoil what was a great season for Val-d’Or by upending the No. 4 Foreurs as the No. 13 seed in six games. Val-d’Or will be ready for this one.

  1. Victoriaville Tigres vs. Gatineau Olympiques; Sun. Sept. 25 at 4 pm ET, at Centre Robert-Guertin

Both of these teams will be playing their second game of the season as the Tigres and their star Maxime Comtois arrive in Gatineau to face the Olympiques led by their new head coach Mario Duhamel. Adding to the drama is the fact that Duhamel was a finalist for the coach-GM job in Victoriaville. The Olympiques have won the last three meetings, limiting Comtois to one assist last season.

  1. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles vs. Saint John Sea Dogs, Fri. Sept. 30; 6 pm ET at Harbour Station

The Screaming Eagles will have waited five months before finally getting the chance to stare down the team who sent them packing in 7 games during the playoffs. A player to watch as always will be Joe Veleno (13-30-43 in 62 games and top pick at the 2015 QMJHL Draft) who will be in his second season in the QMJHL. He posted 7 points in nine regular-season games against the Screaming Eagles last year, and scored a pair of goals in the playoffs against Cape Breton.

  1. Quebec Remparts vs. Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Sun. Oct. 2; 4 pm ET at Centre Georges-Vezina

Some might think the Remparts/Sagueneens rivalry has dropped a few notches in the intensity department of late, but when these old foes hook up, anything could happen. The will open the season against one another at the Centre Videotron the previous week but the showdown at the Centre Georges-Vezina might be a doozy. The Remparts will be coming off a game in Victoriaville while the Sags host Baie-Comeau before facing Quebec. The teams have split their last six meetings played in Chicoutimi.

  1. Rimouski Oceanic vs. Quebec Remparts; Fri. Oct. 28; 7 pm ET at Centre Videotron

While there’s no denying the bad blood between the Sags and Remparts, any tilt pitting Rimouski and Quebec also has the makings of a slobber-knocker. The Oceanic finished 16 points clear of the Remparts last season after having also eliminated Quebec from the 2015 playoffs. The Oceanic has won eight of the clubs’ last nine meetings in Quebec City including the playoffs.

  1. Victoriaville Tigres vs. Sherbrooke Phoenix, Wed., Nov. 2; 7 pm ET at Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet

This may perhaps just be a midweek clash in the West Division, but it’s also a possible Comtois-Fitzpatrick match-up. One of the big prospects ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft against the top goalie prospect of the 2016 NHL Draft class. The Tigres won their two games in Sherbrooke last season to snap a 5-game slide at the Palais des Sports. Comtois picked up a goal and two assists in those two wins over Fitzpatrick in 2015-16.

  1. Halifax Mooseheads vs. Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Sat., Dec. 3; 4 pm ET at Centre Henry-Leonard

The two clubs who set the tone for the 2016 QMJHL Draft with their big trade will clash for the first time in early December. It will be interesting to see what kind of welcome fans in Baie-Comeau will have in store for the Mooseheads and their newly-drafted young stars. The Mooseheads last win on the North Shore dates back to February 1, 2013.

  1. Shawinigan Cataractes vs. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Sat., Dec. 10; 7 pm ET at Arena Iamgold

This will be the first encounter between these 2016 President’s Cup finalists. Seven long months will have gone by since that emotionally-charged series, and the Cataractes will be coming off a visit to Val-d’Or the night before. The Huskies will meanwhile be fresh off hosting the Charlottetown Islanders. Including both regular season and playoffs, Shawinigan has only won one of their last 10 games in Rouyn-Noranda.

  1. Drummondville Voltigeurs vs. Halifax Mooseheads, Fri. Jan. 13; 6 pm ET at Scotiabank Centre

This match-up will mark the return of Dominique Ducharme to Halifax only this time behind the enemy’s bench. The new head coach/GM of the Voltigeurs will be just off leading Canada at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship. It will also be a rare occasion to see the top 3 picks from the same QMJHL Draft square off in the same game (Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Jared McIsaac for the Mooseheads and Olivier Rodrigue for the Voltigeurs). Drummondville swept the two-game season series a year ago, ending an 11-game losing streak that dated back to 2010-11.

  1. Acadie-Bathurst Titan vs. Charlottetown Islanders; 2 pm ET at EastLink Centre & Halifax Mooseheads vs. Moncton Wildcats; 3 pm ET at the Coliseum. Both games on Sun. Feb. 5

It’s going to be double-header time in the Maritimes on Super Bowl Sunday. Fans will get to tailgate to the tune of the Islanders facing the Titan and the Mooseheads taking on the Wildcats in Moncton before hitting the chicken wings pre-Super Bowl. The Titan won two of four games in PEI last year before being swept the season prior. The Mooseheads are winners of their last two games in Moncton after having come out on the losing end of their last seven games before that.

Also of note, the unmissable battles between the Huskies and Foreurs, with a first date on September 28 at the Centre Air Creebec in Val-d’Or, the first father-and-son clash opposing Gilles and Xavier Bouchard when the defending regular season and President Cup champions drop by Halifax on October 21. Let’s not forget the return of the 2016 QMJHL Draft’s No. 1 pick Benoit-Olivier Groulx of the Mooseheads to his hometown of Gatineau on November 2.

What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now for one of these must-see games!

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